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Union calls for constitutional guarantee on minimum staffing levels

Unison is calling for a directive on safe minimum staffing levels to be written into a new NHS Constitution.

‘Without clear guidance, staffing levels will be left to the discretion of local hospitals and that is a recipe for variations in standards,’ warned Unison’s head of health Karen Jennings.

The union also calls for limits on NHS privatisation to be written into the charter, with a pledge that the ‘overwhelming majority’ of services should be delivered by NHS staff, and not outsourced.

‘As it stands the Constitution simply says that private companies should “take account” of the principles within it, but that is not sufficient in itself to preserve the values and ethos of the NHS,’ said Ms Jennings.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown announced plans to draft an NHS constitution – effectively a patient's bill of rights – in January.


Readers' comments (4)

  • i totally agree appropriate staffing levels for the workload ensures good standards of nursing and is cost effective as patients get better care and get better quicker

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  • About time - hurrah! At last a bit of common sense.

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  • Couldn't agree more, if it does nothing else it will give us something to quote to the managers and put on incident forms when we are left with what we feel are dangerously low levels of staff.

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  • Great news, one question, is this only for the NHS or does it also apply to the private sector? I hope it does. There is a lot of understaffing going on in the private sector that goes unnoticesd.

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